Saturday, September 24, 2016

break our walls down...

artwork by Tamara Peterson

Tamara Peterson’s beautiful and intriguing work of art inspired me to do a word study of Hebrews 4:16 while worshipping with the Jesus Culture hymn, Spirit Break Out Spirit break out…break our walls down…Spirit break out…heaven come down… and the beautiful classic hymn, Before The Throne of God Above by Selah…Before the throne of God above, I have a strong and perfect plea, A great high Priest whose Name is Love, Who ever lives and pleads for me...

Hebrews 4:16

NASB: Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need

Amplified: Let us then fearlessly and confidently and boldly draw near to the throne of grace (the throne of God’s unmerited favor to us sinners), that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find grace to help in good time for every need [appropriate help and well-timed help, coming just when we need it].

Barclay: Let us then confidently approach his throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help as need demands.

KJV: Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

NLT: So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it.

Phillips: Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with fullest confidence, that we may receive mercy for our failures and grace to help in the hour of need.

Wuest: Let us be coming therefore with boldness to the throne of grace, in order that we may procure mercy and find grace for seasonable help.

Young's Literal: Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need.

Therefore—Because He was the perfect Man who never stumbled, He is now the perfect High Priest through Whom we can enter into the presence of the Most Holy God.

Let us draw near—one of the most incredibly gracious invitations the world has ever received! Drawing near to the throne of grace is a reflection of our faith or trust that at His throne we will obtain all that we need to live for Him and serve Him.

Pastor Philip E. Hughes writes: “In the Levitical system that had prevailed up till the time of Christ's advent, only the high priest was permitted to approach into the sanctuary of God's presence, and then only once a year, on the Day of Atonement, when he passed from sight into the holy of holies. The people, however, were excluded from the divine presence because of their sinfulness and prohibited from drawing near. But the atonement effected by Christ's sacrifice of himself on the cross opened the way that had previously been closed. This was dramatically symbolized by the rending of the temple curtain from top to bottom at the time of the crucifixion, indicating that through an act of divine grace access into the holiest place was now available to all the people of God. The reality corresponding to this symbolic event is pressed home by our author here. Sinners are no longer commanded to keep their distance in fear and trembling, but, on the contrary, are now invited to draw near, and to do so with confidence.”

Pastor Charles H. Spurgeon states: “It is clear from the connection of our text that the interposition of the Lord Jesus Christ is essential to acceptable prayer. As prayer will not be truly prayer without the Spirit of God, so it will not be prevailing prayer without the Son of God. He, the Great High Priest, must go within the veil for us; no, through His crucified person the veil must be entirely taken away. For, until then, we are shut out from the living God. This glorious God-man Mediator continually presents before His Father His one great sacrifice for sin. There will never be a repetition of it, and it will never need to be offered again, “for by one offering he has perfected for all time those who are made holy” (Hebrews 10:14), that is, those who are set apart unto Himself. This one sacrifice He perpetually pleads before the throne, and our prayers therefore ascend to God with the merit of Christ’s atoning blood giving them acceptance with His Father. So they must have power with God, for they come before Him signed, as it were, with the name of His well-beloved Son. He lays His hand upon each petition, and so leaves the print of the nails upon it, and therefore it must prevail with God.”

Draw near (proserchomai from prós = facing + erchomai = come) means to come facing toward. To approach, come near, visit, figuratively to worship, draw near, go near to. The present tense is an exhortation to continually drawing near to Him in prayer, worship, devotion of heart and life. Because of Christ’s finished work on the Cross and His present mediation as our High Priest, believers can boldly approach God’s presence! You may want to read that again and then ponder the incredible privilege believers have in the New Covenant!

Pastor J. Vernon McGee explains our bold access in plain terms: “We can speak freely to the Lord Jesus Christ. I can tell Him things that I cannot tell you. He understands me. He knows my weaknesses, and I might just as well tell Him. I have learned to be very frank with Him. He is God, and I come to Him in worship and with reverence. But I am free to speak, because He is also a man. He is God, but He is a man, and I can come to Him with great freedom. I can tell Him what is on my heart. I can open my heart to Him. I suspect, therefore, that all these very pious and flowery prayers we make are not impressive to Him—especially when we are attempting to cover up what is in our hearts and lives. I wonder if the Lord doesn't tune us out when we do not come to Him with freedom and open our hearts to Him.”

Confidence (parrhesia/parresia from pás = all + rhesis = speech, act of speaking) is literally all speech or speaking all things and thereby conveys the idea of freedom to say all. The basic idea in the word is freedom of speech, when the word flowed freely. It is that attitude of openness that stems from freedom and lack of fear means in essence the freedom to say all. Ultimately this quality of confidence is that which is energized by the indwelling Spirit, emboldening Spirit-filled believers to openly declare with great conviction all that He births within. Parrhesia is confidence that speaks up and thus is outspoken confidence. It is a deep confidence that shows itself in bold, candid speech, by one being ready and willing to make their convictions known in public without fear of repercussions.

Pastor Warren W. Wiersbe writes: “When you are free to speak, then there is no fear and you have confidence. A believer can come with boldness (same word as "confidence") to the throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16) with openness and freedom and not be afraid. We have this boldness because of the shed blood of Jesus Christ. Therefore, we should not cast away our confidence, no matter what the circumstances might be. We should not have confidence in ourselves, because we are too prone to fail; but we should have confidence in Jesus Christ who never fails.”

Greek scholar Kenneth S. Wuest says: “Parrhesia is "freedom in speaking, unreservedness in speech, free and fearless confidence, cheerful courage, boldness, assurance… free and bold speaking; speaking out every word. Its dominant idea is boldness, confidence, as opposed to fear, ambiguity, or reserve.”

Boldness—fearlessness in the face of danger, with daring or courage.

Confidence—means a state of mind or a manner marked by easy coolness and freedom from uncertainty, diffidence, or embarrassment…you can always be sure of God's loving welcome.

Theologian Adam Clarke writes: “Parrhesia modifying draw near means to do so "with freedom, confidence, liberty of speech, in opposition to the fear and trembling of the Jewish high priest. Here, nothing is to be feared, provided the heart be right with God, truly sincere, and trusting alone in the sacrificial blood. Parrhesia originally meant frankness, freedom in speaking or fearless candor but came to denote boldness, confidence or openness in action. Stresses faith in oneself and one’s powers without any suggestion of conceit or arrogance. Parrhesia originally referred to a manner of speaking that neither concealed nor omitted anything, and thus conveyed the meanings of frankness, plainness, or openness.

Throne of grace—To the lost sinner, God's throne is a throne of judgment, but to the believer, it is a throne of grace, to which he or she can come for help with all our burdens and needs.

Pastor Charles H. Spurgeon
writes: “We have a Friend at court; our Bridegroom is on the throne. He who reigns in heaven loves us better than we love ourselves. Come, then, why should we hesitate, why should we delay our approach to His throne of mercy? What is it that we want at this moment? Let us ask for it. If it is a time of need, then we see clearly from this verse that it is a time when we are permitted and encouraged to pray. In prayer we come, not only to our Father’s feet, but we come also to the throne of the Great Monarch of the universe. The mercy seat is a throne, and we must not forget this. He is the most Holy of all kings.”

Throne (thronos) is a relatively large and elaborate seat upon which ruler sits on official occasions. Figuratively throne speaks of authority and power, while grace conveys the idea of sympathy and understanding, and our great High Priest Jesus Christ is the perfect embodiment of these traits. Jesus Christ fully God and fully Man, but a Man of infinite power on one hand and a Man with complete and utter sympathy toward mere men.

Grace (charis) is God's unmerited favor and is also His supernatural enablement and empowerment for initial salvation and for daily sanctification. Grace can transform any and every trial into triumph and every sorrow into joy. Grace always precedes and leads to peace.

Mercy (eleos) is the outward manifestation of pity, a compassion for one suffering which is so great that it moves the compassionate one to help. Mercy refers to the outward manifestation of pity and assumes need on the part of those who receive it and sufficient resources to meet the need on the part of those who show it.

Greek scholar Kenneth S. Wuest writes: “Eleos is God’s kindness and goodwill toward the miserable and afflicted, joined with a desire to relieve them. Grace meets man’s need in respect to his guilt and lost condition; mercy, with reference to his suffering as a result of that sin. One needs to distinguish between grace and mercy. Grace is shown to the undeserving, while mercy is compassion to the miserable. Grace is God’s solution to man’s sin. Mercy is God’s solution to man’s misery. Grace covers the sin, while mercy removes the pain. Grace forgives, while mercy restores. Grace gives us what we don’t deserve while mercy withholds what we do deserve.”

Find grace—Grace is there for the need but we must avail ourselves of His grace. We need mercy for the forgiveness of our sins and grace with which to meet and overcome our trials. He gives us the grace we need to face testing and temptation.

Help (boetheia is the noun derived from boetheo = to help from combination of boé = a cry, exclamation + theo = to run) draws an incredible word picture of one who upon hearing a cry for help, runs to give aid to assist. Boetheia describes the assistance offered to meet a need. The writer of Hebrews encourages saints writing "Let us therefore (term of conclusion) draw near with confidence (fearlessly, boldly) to the throne of grace, that we may (note he does not say so that we "might" but in fact that we will) receive mercy and may find grace to help (boetheia) in time of need."
The Amplified version describes this "help" as "appropriate help and well-timed help, coming just when we need it." Jehovah runs to our cry for help with His mercy to cover the things we should not have done, and His grace to empower us to do what we should do but do not have the power to do, both arriving in the nick of time.

In time of need (eukairos from eu = good, well + kairos = time, opportune time) means seasonable, timely, opportune, favorable, at the right time, well timed. It is that time which is well suited for something. In context it means He gives help when you need it or timely help.

This passage of Hebrews contains one of the most vital truths in the New Testament concerning Christ and those who believe in Him. It also contains one of the greatest promises and invitations in the Bible: come boldly to the throne of grace and receive mercy and grace in our time of need. Why? Not because we’re good or we deserve it but because Jesus is in His place at the right hand of the Father and is our great High Priest. That’s why we have constant access to God’s grace; that’s why we can take all our needs and problems to Him in prayer—because He is right now at God’s throne beckoning us to come for the grace and mercy He is so ready to give! He isn’t oblivious to the reality of our humanness; in fact, He understands our weaknesses. There is help when we most need it, mercy and strength when we’re weak, sufficient grace for anything we will ever face—if only we will come to the throne of our gracious God, ask, and receive. Come to Him today!

Lord Jesus, thank You for facing the same temptations and problems we do and for fully understanding our weaknesses. Thank You for pouring out your life on the cross, for rising again and reigning at the right hand of the Father. Your throne is a place of grace for Your children, where we can receive Your mercy and help when we most need it. Spirit break out, break our walls down…in Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

Look up – Meditate on Hebrews 4:16. Pray to see what it reveals about the character of God.

Look in – Meditate on Hebrews 4:16. Pray to see how you might apply it to your life. Be propelled to ask galvanizing questions about your discoveries: “Because God is ______________, I will ______________.”

Look out – Meditate on Hebrews 4:16. Pray to see how you might apply it to your relationships with others. Let the nature of God impact on every relationship, for your good, and for His glory.  

* If you liked this post you’ll love this book – Name Above All Names Devotional: Focusing on 26 Alphabetical Names of Christ


  1. I think it was John Newton who wrote the words:
    You are coming to a King.
    Large petitions with thee bring,
    For His grace and power are such
    None could ever ask too much.

    This is the confidence that my heart longs for when I come to the throne of grace.

    Blessings, Beth. Thanks for opening this beautiful verse today.

    1. Michele, I love the poem by John Newton! I so agree with you. In just a few words he has captured the boldness and confidence we have in the perfect finished work of Christ... "Nothing in my hands I bring, only to His Cross I cling!" I always love your encouraging words...many blessings to you sweet friend ❤️

  2. Wow! This was a most thorough word study! One in which I received so many new insights!!

    It's always so interesting when there is a verse that we know so well, even quoted many times, but then see it in a whole new light through a word study.

    The Phillips version of that verse really brought to light for me the "prescription for prayer", confession and then request. Charles Spurgeon helped to meat that out more through his commentary on what that verse says about prayer.

    I also received new insight from the quote you shared from J. Vernon McGee.

    There was so much here that I could comment on!!

    Thank you so much for shedding new light on this very familiar verse. Light that brings with it all new encouragement. :-)


    1. Thank you so much for your kind comments, Karen! All praise and honor and glory to our Lord Jesus Christ, it is a joy to share with others what He has used to encourage me...many blessings to you ❤️

  3. It's always so enriching to have many perspectives on scripture, it's like looking at it through a prism, with many striking colors, shades, hues and sparkling light!
    Thank you for this deeper look approaching God! Fantastic!

    1. Kathy, I LOVE your TRUE...beautifully said! I stopped by your website just now and left a comment... your writing style speaks to my heart--so open, honest and transparent. Many blessings to you!

  4. I really like the look up and look in..... like prayer prompts.
    Thanks for the devotional Beth.
    Happy reading through your new series
    God bless you

    1. Thank you for stopping by, Ifeoma. You are a wonderful encourager to me and so many others! Many blessings to you!

  5. You end with a beautiful prayer, Beth. Thank you.

    1. Rachel, thank you so much for stopping by! Many blessings to you!

  6. One of my favourite verses! Thanks for linking up with Thankful Thursday last week.


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